Rishikesh Ashram Life – The path of a yogi (in baby steps)!

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I was initially drawn to Yoga as a way to compensate for all the other activities I put my body through! As a fitness instructor, runner and general lover of high intensity exercise and sport I knew my body was out of balance and Yoga seemed like the thing that could fix it! I am mostly self taught but I have found the benefits ( in even a short time) quite noticeable and not just on a physical level. When I started telling people that I was coming to India to study Yoga (after the initial Eat, Pray, Love comparisons) many people were surprised, although not everybody. (Many obviously just don’t equate me with tranquility I guess?) I’ll never forget one client telling me “but you don’t really have a yoga voice”? – DOES THIS MEAN I’M TOO LOUD? I’m learning quickly though that none of these perceptions matter. I am on a path and everybody has to start somewhere! One of the first things we are told in our Yoga Philosophy lectures is that “YOGA = The Fearless Expression of Yourself”. I love this quote instantly and I know I am in the right place.

I have been at the ashram in Rishikesh now for 10 days. I would love to say that already I have found instant peace but unfortunately life and spirituality don’t really work like that! My mind yactually does feel quite calm but my body is fighting it in every way it knows how! (Yoga hypothesises that all physical ailments are physco somatic so my brain must be trying to tell me something??). Since I arrived here I’ve been plagued by digestive problems, I feel like I am constantly fighting off a fever, my muscles ache from even basic yoga postures and in the last few days I have also managed to twist my knee which is now all swollen up and preventing me from doing any asana practice at all. But this is my path and I must have faith in the journey ahead. In the western world we really have turned Yoga into exercise and focus solely on the asana practice or postures. What I am learning is that Yoga is everything and even though I am not able to do all the asana practice at the moment I am still practicing Yoga! And I am still smiling! It sounds very cliched but everybody here really does have a beautiful soul and I feel very lucky to be surrounded by such supportive friends! Eventually my body (and my mind) will catch up!

In the meantime I will try and walk this path as best I can, and sometimes that means falling off the path slightly? Usually to the path that leads to the Oasis cafe! At the start of this process the thought of going without alcohol for 6 weeks seemed like a big ask but in reality (for now) it’s not often on my mind. The cravings that we are all having are mainly for Eggs and Coffee! I’m not too bad with the coffee, although since arriving in India I have regained the most un-yogic like cravings for coca-cola so my caffeine fix is taken care of. (When I don’t feel well I always turn to coca-cola like a medicine but I will try and give it up as soon as I feel better – promise)! But the Eggs are a necessity! We are not totally vegan as we have some milk and occasional paneer cheese in our diet but even though I am used to a vegetarian diet, myself and a few the others (especially the normally very active ones) are definitely feeling the need for a more substantial protein hit! So we leave every other morning for Eggs and Coffee!

As I said, I’m taking baby steps on my Yogic Path!

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